05/07/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak
Undersized and underestimated. Those are two words with the letter "U" that would describe Anthony Jerome Webb in stature and in his early days of playing basketball. Unbelievable and unforgettable, those are two other words with the letter "U" that described the basketball career of the man better known as "Spud".
Height was always a perceived obstacle to why Spud Webb wouldn't be successful on the hardwood. He was told from his days in junior high school that he was too short to play basketball. Webb was just 5'3'' in high school. But he was able to dunk, and averaged 26 points per game through his high school career in Texas. Despite his numbers in high school, Webb wasn't recruited to any major colleges, mainly because it was thought he wasn't tall enough to play Division One college basketball. He ended up going to a junior college instead.
In 1982, Webb would lead Midland College to the junior college national championship. That's when Webb's basketball skills started to draw attention. He scored 36 points in that championship game, and was named a NCJAA All-American in 1983. Webb also had a 42 inch vertical leap. That led to North Carolina State head coach Jim Valvano offering him a scholarship to play Divisionn One college basketball.
Following college it was assumed, again due to his height, that Webb wouldn't play professional basketball in the NBA. However, he was selected in the 4th round of the 1985 NBA Draft by Detroit. Webb is probably best remembered professionally for the time he played in Atlanta from 1985 through 1981. One of the highlights of Webb's time with the Hawks was winning the Slam Dunk Contest at the 1986 All-Star game.
At 5'6'', Webb was one of the shortest players to ever play in the NBA. Despite that, he played 12 NBA seasons, scoring over 8,000 career points and accumulating over 4,300 career assists. Webb averaged 9.9 points per game for his career. Webb retired from the NBA following the 1998 season. He is now the President of Basketball Operations for the Texas Legends in the NBA Developmental League.
A cliche repeated often in sports is "it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog". Spud Webb proved that he had more than enough to play with the big dogs despite being a smaller breed of dog.
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